America – “My country, ‘Tis of Thee”

By Ajlan Kurdoglu

Opinions expressed in these columns are the individual authors’ views and do not necessarily represent the Ten Thousand Turks Campaign’s positions.

Posted on January 23, 2021

America – “My country, ‘Tis of Thee”

A couple of weeks ago we were breathing a sigh of relief at the end of 2020, and we were getting ready to turn the page of this exhausting year. Covid vaccines were giving hope to all across the world, an incoming new administration in our country was promising fresh air, a new start, a hopeful beginning. But all our enthusiasm, our excitement came to a halt on Jan 6, with the riot at the Capitol. What we saw that dark day was something that we never thought we would see in this land of ours.

The United States, the shining city upon a hill as we like to call it, is the beacon of hope for the rest of the world. No matter the struggles we deal with in our country, we never cease to be an example for people struggling for freedom, prosperity, and happiness. Seeing thousands storming the capitol, running through the halls, attacking the security, vandalizing the heart of one of the best democracies ever existed was deeply disturbing. It truly traumatized many of us.

Just as most first-generation Americans I was and still am deeply concerned about the riots; the peaceful acceptance of election results, the regular transfers of power, election cycles without violence are the norms that we, immigrants cherish. As someone who witnessed three separate coup attempts in his native country, I must emphasize that this successful, more than two centuries old exercise of American democracy is not something we shall not take for granted.

The United States is going through several problems that cause deep divides in the country; our political system can be called dysfunctional, we can see identity and social crises within our communities, we are dealing with a growing undeniable economical crisis. But despite all of these obstacles, I truly believe our country is well aware of how to move forward; after the January 6 riot, Americans came together and rejected the violence in politics. We realized how delicate of a system that functioning democracy is, just like anywhere in the world,  and we acted on it. Many everyday Americans whom I have stayed in contact with after my campaign are outraged with what happened and they are energized to protect their democracy. They are fully aware that our system needs to be protected constantly by their participation. In return of course our system must serve everyone, not leave anyone beyond. The threat to democracy was real but the institutions by the virtue of people within them stayed strong, endured the attacks.

This strength and the character of Americans I believe make our country unique, and exceptional. Our country is not perfect but Americans who are strong and do believe in the destiny of the United States, strive to make it a bit better every single day. I am so excited for the future.

Ajlan Kurdoglu, a graduate of Istanbul Technical University and Thunderbird School of Global Management, is a small business owner in Phoenix, Arizona. He was the Democratic candidate for the Arizona State Senate, 17th Legislative District, in 2020.